March 29, 2011; Source: Wall Street Journal | When a tragedy like the recent Japanese earthquake occurs, people get creative about ways to lend a hand. An example is the soon-to-be published e-book, “2:46 Quakebook,” a collection of personal accounts and reflections about the devastating event that will benefit the Japanese Red Cross.

According to the Wall Street Journal, the book came together in a record 10 days and much of it due to the power of social networking. Contributions – written pieces, drawings, and photographs – began pouring in immediately following a Twitter message that was posted on March 18 asking for submissions.

The idea for the book is credited to a British blogger based in Japan, who writes under the byline "Our Man in Akibo." The book, he said, "came about as a group of us were just sitting here feeling useless and wanting to do something." The blogger, who said he didn't want to reveal his real name because he feels others should be recognized just as much as him for helping with the project, added, "I can’t help people medically, but I know how to write and edit, so I thought we could put something together to raise money for charity."

The Wall Street Journal reports project organizers are in talks with Amazon Japan about selling the book online within the next few days. "Our Man in Akibo" said he wasn't really surprised how fast people responded, enabling the book to be completed so quickly. “It’s therapeutic to write about your own experiences and to read other peoples’ . . . and to also do something practical—to be able to send blankets and food to the people who need them—is a really great thing.”—Bruce Trachtenberg